SURREY — It's been a wealth of wonderful arts events in October so far, and I could think of no better way to do an accounting of said wealth than with a recap of Surrey Civic Treasures. These awards have been given out annually for the past five years to recognize people who have contributed significantly to the arts scene in Surrey.
Among them, Ellie King – sometimes controversial, but always interesting (gosh, that sounds almost like me) – has not only had a long history of professional theatre, but she has established Surrey's first professional theatre company. King isn't one to rest on her laurels, though, and is now instrumental in bringing the first full-scale theatrical production to Newton Cultural Centre.
The play, making its western Canadian debut, is a spoof of the Arthur Conan Doyle-penned Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Did you see The 39 Steps? Hound is sort of a spoof like that - three professional actors portraying all the roles in a lively, Halloween-perfect performance, starring Michael Charrois, Mark Carter and James Rowley, and directed by King. I think you are going to want to see this one. I already have my tickets. You can reserve yours now. Entertaining, challenging and fast-paced, this production should leave you laughing. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. from Oct. 22 to 31 (select nights), tickets $25/$20 (family four pack at $55). Contact the Arts Council of Surrey for more info, especially about school shows and group rates. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or look it up on the web, at www.baskervilles.org.
Next Civic Treasures are Patricia Dahlquist and Maxine Howchin. I am not going to list their achievements and contributions - it would fill the whole edition. Not writing a book, here. Anyway, they are also on the path to do more. Together, they put together and hosted Surrey Sings! for 10 years. It sort of fell apart, but this dedicated duo is looking to remount this songfest in the spring of 2014. Surrey is home to international award-winning choirs and, honestly, we are almost singing in the streets. This is a great project and we need to give them our support to get Surrey Sings! back on track. Send a message of support to your arts council, email above.
Kelly Konno, dancer extraordinaire, was the fourth Civic Treasure honoree this year. Known for her tours with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, Konno is always happy to say she is from Surrey, and I adore her for that. She is one of the founders of the Triple Threat dance conventions, among other achievements. We talked about tap dancing, of course. The last time I chatted with her was when she was still competing at the Surrey Festival of Dance - and now I can tap-dance, too. Not at her level, but no matter, it is a connection.
Actor Jackson Davies (of The Beachcombers fame) was emcee for this gala night of awards and recognition, Oct. 8 at Surrey Arts Centre. He has only great things to say about performing on the stage at Surrey Arts Centre. Touring pros really love our space - and no wonder. You might remember that Davies performed at the arts centre in the hit show, The Foursome.
As it happens, Surrey Little Theatre has The Foursome (not with Davies, though) on stage right now. Tickets were selling so fast for this popular show that a holdover has been announced. Added to the performance schedule are Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2. For tickets, email reservations@surreylittletheatre. com, call 604-576-8451 or visit brownpapertickets.com.
Surrey Little Theatre is a community theatre club - all volunteers, no one is paid. Like all community theatre groups, the people involved become family and friends. I just want to pass along a message from Paul Cowhig, who is leaving his theatre family to take on a new job in the Cowichan Valley. "Thanks for the opportunity that I was given to have been a part of something very special," he says. "Welcome newcomers! Share your talents, your love and your time with each other and with your clubs. Be nice! Have fun! Make being part of community theatre one of the best experiences a person could hope to have in this world. It certainly has been that for me. Community theatre, through all of you, has breathed new life into me and I will be eternally grateful. I cherish the last decade or so of being part of that shared experience with you."
We will miss you too, Paul. It is people like you - and all our other treasures - that make this city a great place for the arts. Good on you - on all of you.
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